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Roadside sign, Northern California (Kathleen Kenna)

I’m proud to be an immigrant.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to live in several countries, in war and peace, as an immigrant and long-time visa holder.

I’m grateful to be an immigrant living in the United States of America.

I’m especially mindful of this because of a 4 a.m. encounter yesterday with a cabbie.

After a half-hour of listening to right wing radio rants at high volume, I joked from the back seat, “Why are all these guys so mad?”

“It’s all going to hell in a hand basket,” he said.

It was too early to ask him to be more specific.

He added quickly, “Can’t happen soon enough, if you ask me.”

There was a long pause. We had arrived, thankfully, at the terminal.

“Born here?” I asked, knowing the answer.

Oh, yes, he was born here.

I suspect he’s never lived anywhere else; perhaps that’s why his world appears so dark.

What do I know?

I’m only an optimistic immigrant, witness to an extraordinary time in American history.

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